Now that I am back from my trip in Europe (Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest), I thought of some food related things that really stood out to me in these five cities. Some of these observations are soon-to-be habits that I want to develop at home, but others are just basic parts of European lives that I noticed. Here they are:
- Tea (ginger/mint). Usually when you make tea, you use a tea bag. What I noticed was that when my mom ordered “ginger” tea in Amsterdam, all the waitress did was drop slices of ginger into a cup of hot water. Simple. If I had to guess, the ginger probably flavored the water at around the same rate as a normal tea bag, and I am sure it tastes fresher. A different waitress did the same with mint. I can also guess that mint and ginger can be used multiple times before running out of flavor.
- Greek yogurt, granola and honey on pancakes. In Amsterdam again, we visited a pancake house by the name M.O.O.K twice. My mom tried the Good Morning pancakes and the first thing I saw was honey, granola, and greek yogurt. These ingredients aren’t normally what you would plop onto a stack of pancakes, but try it and you’ll be scooping them onto your own in no time. I think that the reason this combination tastes so good is because pancakes are best known with something sweet like syrup and honey fulfills that role quite well. Granola brings crunchiness, while the yogurt provides a new, but surprisingly yummy texture.
- Sparkling water. Although I will usually take still over sparkling, I have to admit that amount of “bubble” water in Europe has made me want to drink it just a little bit more. Sometimes restaurants even default to sparkling because it is so popular. The interesting thing is that drinking sparkling water helps me balance out awkward flavors..
- Charge for water. When you sit down at a typical restaurant, your waiter will most likely ask you what you want to drink. I usually ask for water, because it’s free! That’s not the case in some of these cities. Though it doesn’t cost much, there still is a small bill for a jug of water. That’s why I find myself drinking less water in Europe because I feel conscious of spending more money.
- Double fried fries. There are some fries that have a ton of actual potatoes in them, but the ones in Amsterdam, no way. The secret to these special fries is that the people who make it double fry the potatoes, making another layer of dried out oil which provides the extra crispy taste. The fry stand we visited (on our food tour) had 38 different options for sauce. Esther, our guide, told us that the traditional sauce is the peanut onion sauce. If you try this combination, it might look like some brown substance with white squares and yellow sticks, but then looks aren’t everything when it comes to food. Taste is!
- Food trucks on streets. There’s nothing like having every street in downtown Prague filled with big churro ice cream vendors or burger/sausage locations. It’s the perfect option for grab and go. You probably can’t walk 30 meters without seeing (or smelling) one on every street.
- Restaurant recommendations through Trip Advisor, not Yelp. I have said many times before that Yelp is basically the best website to use for finding great restaurants. Well, in Europe, I’m wrong. I was surprised to find that Yelp didn’t have a lot of restaurant reviews in the cities we visited. Trip Advisor did. Probably 10x more. So that sums it up. In Europe, use Trip Advisor, not Yelp
I think it would be pretty cool if anybody else discovered the same things that I did in these five cities, because that would be evidence that the things I wrote about are true (and not some random insights). Anyways, that will probably be my last post on my Europe trip, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my experience! Lastly, if anyone did see anything I wrote about, then instead of Is It Just Me Or Am I Noticing Things, it would be Is It Just Us Or Are We Noticing Things!